What to do if you're struck by a car while riding a bike

If you are a Fort Collins resident, there’s a good chance that biking is a common form of transportation for you. Running a Google search on “what Fort Collins is known for” will yield many results about craft breweries, but also the biking culture that makes it very easy to get from Point A to Point B on two wheels in our city. Along with dozens of miles of bike trails, Fort Collins is also home to nearly 300 miles of wide bike lanes on streets. 

However, the sheer number of bikes on Northern Colorado roadways has resulted in a high number of motor-vehicle related bike accidents. If you are a bicyclist that is the victim of one of these such collisions, the team at Steve Ray Law, PPLC can help you get justice. Steve Ray has been serving Northern Colorado for over 40 years as a personal injury attorney and has worked with many such victims to help them receive the compensation they deserve. 

The majority of bicyclists in Fort Collins do their due diligence by understanding the laws of the road before entering a bike lane, and avoid close interaction with cars and trucks at all costs. However, practicing all of the safety habits you have ever learned is not enough sometimes. It is a common mindset to think that getting hit by a car is something that could “never happen to me,” which results in bicyclists having no idea of how to react if a collision does actually happen.  Here is what you should do if you have been injured in a biking accident: 

Call 911

Just like a serious motor-vehicle collision, dialing 911 should be one of the first things you do after ensuring that you are ok. Removing yourself from the street to a safe area and checking for broken bones or bleeding goes without saying, but don’t wait too long before calling the authorities. Once your frustration and adrenaline cools off, your injuries will likely feel worse, and you will want medical attention. Having a police officer at the crash site is also a good opportunity to tell him or her exactly how things unfolded while it is fresh in your mind. 

If the driver shrugs off a light collision and drives away, this is a felony hit and run, and can carry the same gravity as a car accident. 

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Get Contact Information

If you are not in absolutely critical condition, the next step will be to gather information from the driver and other witnesses. Speak with the driver to record their name, address, and insurance information. It will also be helpful to have the make, model, and year of the at-fault driver’s vehicle, along with the license plate number. In many cases, police officers will collect information from witnesses that are still at the scene, but it is a good precaution to do this yourself as well. After the dust has settled, the at-fault driver may have a different account of what happened, and it is important to have witnesses other than yourself that are able to tell the full truth. If you need to be immediately rushed to the hospital, ask someone to gather contact information for you. 

If you do not need immediate medical attention, it is also a good idea to take some pictures of the scene. This can include damage done to either the bike or the car, the bike lane, skid marks, etc. 

Watch Your Words

If the driver has any form of moral compass, they will likely be very apologetic following the accident. Don’t tell the driver that you were in any way responsible for the accident, that you could have done something differently to avoid it, or that your injuries are not as bad as they look. Remember, anything you say can be used against you! If you want to process with someone, call a friend or family member, and save your comments for the police. You can read about the legal requirements of drivers in relation to bikers here

Get Treatment

Refusing treatment after the accident can undermine the value of your claim. Paramedics deal with similar accidents every day, so you should listen to what they have to say. Point out any areas of pain; even if they don’t feel terrible at the moment, the effects of the collision may further reveal themselves after the adrenaline has worn off. 

Check Your Bike

If you were struck by a moving vehicle, it is possible that your bike may be folded like a pretzel. In this case, you are likely entitled to a new one and won’t need to worry about the old. If your bike is still in working condition, it is a good idea to get it checked out by a mechanic before taking it for a test drive to ensure that there is no hidden damage or parts that need to be repaired. 

File a Personal Injury Claim

Attempting to deal with an insurance company on your own can be exhausting and overwhelming, and you may be taken advantage of. In order to get the most out of your situation, contact the office of Steve Ray Law, PPLC, and we can help you file a claim and receive the compensation you deserve. Steve Ray believes that one of the ways to promote cycling in our region is to protect those who are harmed by car drivers who violate our laws.No matter your degree of injury or potential time that you have had to miss from work because of the collision, we want to help you. 

Once everything has settled and you return to your normal daily routine, don’t let the trauma of a bike accident keep you from ever enjoying the joy of riding a bike ever again! After all, we live in a gorgeous state and have access to great biking opportunities all across Northern Colorado, including riding through plenty of areas where cars can’t!